Amazon and Techstars revamp Alexa Accelerator to help later-stage companies, unveil new cohort



Team members from the third Alexa Accelerator cohort gather on stage last year at Amazon HQ in Seattle. (GeekWire Photos / Taylor Soper)

Amazon and Techstars on Wednesday unveiled the seven companies participating in Alexa Next Stage, its voice tech startup program originally called Alexa Accelerator.

Amazon earlier this year said it would revamp the program to focus on later-stage companies. Launched in 2017, the Alexa Accelerator supported 27 early-stage startups in three cohorts over the past three years.

“Alexa Next Stage, Powered by Techstars is an evolution of our Alexa Accelerator and is designed to engage a broader set of companies, both by stage and geography, and bring more Alexa experiences to life and to our customers,” Rodrigo Prudencio, an Alexa Fund leader, wrote in a blog post. “The evolution reflects how Alexa has expanded and that great startups can be found all over the world.”

The program was previously based in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle. It will be conducted remotely over the next eight weeks, with a virtual Demo Night set for August 11. Prudencio noted that the virtual aspect allows more companies to participate since they don’t absolutely need to travel to and stay in Seattle to participate.

The program is part of the Alexa Fund, Amazon’s $200 million venture capital arm for voice tech startups. Amazon has invested in more than 70 companies over the past five years as part of the fund.

The accelerator gives Amazon a unique way to scale its early-stage investing, at least more so than a traditional venture fund. It also lets Amazon employees get involved as mentors.

Each startup receives up to a $150,000 initial investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund in the form of a convertible note. Startups grant participation rights for future rounds of financing to both Alexa Fund and Techstars.

Here are the seven startups participating in the cohort:

Editor’s note: Story updated with investment amount details.






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